Long-time Nowness collaborator Andrew Thomas Huang writes and directs this captivating short film about an ordinary restaurant worker’s extraordinary sexual awakening. Nightly visits from the Rabbit God, who arrives in the body of a tantalizing mysterious stranger, blossom into a tryst that empowers the young man to embark on a journey of self-discovery. “Interweaving my personal family history in the Chinese restaurant business with the richness of Chinese mythology,” says Huang, “Kiss of the Rabbit God is a confession and a love letter to my queer Asian community.”
LA-based Huang looked to his own Chinese heritage as inspiration for this Nowness-commissioned project, which is also the filmmaker's first fictional narrative short. The Qing dynasty myth of Tu'er Shen—the Rabbit God—traces the story of a Fujianese soldier who was executed for professing his love to another man. The ruler of the underworld decided that since Tu'er Shen’s crime was one of love, the soldier would be ordained as the Rabbit God, the patron deity of gay love.
“Being asked to create a piece centered around queer Asian characters became a dauntingly personal journey for me,” says Huang. “I grew up with a deficit of queer Asian visibility on-screen along with the frequent stigmatization and devaluing of Asian male bodies in Western visual culture. I wanted to unpack these issues while also crafting a story that I felt enriched our collective imagination of what queer Asian male love, sex and intimacy could aspire to be.”
Huang is internationally renowned for creating outlandish imagined landscapes and for experimental filmmaking that blurs the line between video art and traditional cinema. His strength in world-building has led him to collaborate with Icelandic artist Bjork, avant-pop musician FKA Twigs, Radiohead's Thom Yorke and British director Joe Wright.
Kiss of the Rabbit God forms part of China Wave, our month-long special program of films profiling a new era of Chinese creative expression that is rewriting the rules on conventional art, filmmaking, music and performance.
Kiss of the Rabbit God will be screening at Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ film festival, which runs from 18 – 28 July 2019. Click here for more information